“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV
Initiating the practice of budgeting sets a plan around how God is calling His church to use the funds He will provide. Intentional forethought from church leadership in crafting a budget guides the church financially throughout the year, increasing stewardship of the funds God has entrusted to your church, increasing accountability for church leadership, and fostering confidence in the management of funds given by congregants.
Here are 6 tips on setting your church’s budget this year!
1 . Begin in Prayer
As planning anything for your life and ministry, prayer is the essential piece to an effective budget planning process. Get aligned with His intentions and His calling before starting.
2 . Look at the Year Behind
Look at your financial reports month to month last year. What was the growth your church experienced in the past year? Does last year’s spending accurately reflect your church’s values? Is there any category that was higher than you expected? Or is there a ministry in which God called you to designate more funds to last year that you did not use? Noting these strengths and weaknesses can help in crafting next year’s budget.
3 . Looking Ahead to What God is Ordering for Next Year
It is important to plan for any foreseeable changes in the upcoming year. How is God growing your church in the upcoming year? Is God giving you direction to enter a new field or ministry, add staff, or purchasing a new building? Is He calling you to scale back in certain areas? Including these changes is essential in using your budget as an accurate guidepost throughout the year. More on God’s guidance in budgeting can be found here.
4 . What’s a Part of Your Church’s Big Picture?
Take the time to think on the financial goals your church wants to meet in the upcoming years. What needs to happen financially to work towards those goals? If the church is called to support more missionaries, allocate additional funds in the budget to missions. If additional staff will be helpful in ministering, make a financial plan for how to support that staff member. Intentionally including these goals in the process of creating your budget allows you to move forward with clarity.
5 . Get into the Details
Just like it is essential to take time to think over the big picture, it is valuable to go over the details of your budget. Incorporating the work you did in the previous steps, what needs to be allocated for each individual account? Go through each income and expense account in your Chart of Accounts to review the planned amount, compare against the previous year’s budgeted and actual amounts, and think on what God has guided you to for the upcoming year. Incorporate the growth or decrease planned.
6 . Take Time to Review
Take time to think through the budget after you have crafted it. Pray over it again. Allow colleagues, church leaders, or trusted confidants review the budget to check for incongruences and practicability. Then, submit the budget to the appropriate leadership.
If you have any questions on the budgeting process and what it looks like for your church, reach out to us here; we’d love to partner with your church!